Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer it has been – summer vacation it is not, PLUS: Haiducii vid!

Adam leads his students in a Zen Walk.
If I was expecting summer to be somewhat more relaxing than the school year – I was – then I was clearly mistaken.  While there have been two nice vacations, they have only managed to condense the amount of time remaining for a chaotic eclectic assortment of tasks.  There has been teaching PST, a project at the soup kitchen, ongoing work at the medical center, and enough political intrigue in the village to require numerous visits to shore up friendships amongst the two main factions.  There was also a great 50th Anniversary Concert in Chişinău that I MCed (credit to Ohad Sternberg for the post and photos linked to there).

While I like to stay busy, one downside of this is that there has been less time than expected for Haiducii, a secondary project I joined last spring (when still expecting a lot of free time in the summer).

Quoting from that last post:

Probably the coolest of my groups, Haiducii (pronounced Hi-do-chi) is a Robin Hood like character in Balkan folklore.  In Moldova, we are an injustice-fighting band of PCVs who go around teaching teamwork and leadership skills to youth through outdoor teambuilding activities (the type common in U.S. summer camps and low ropes courses).  We won’t really ramp up until the summer season, but as a throw back to my Boy Scout days, I’m looking forward to this group.  It involves lots of hitchhiking around Moldova, but then, isn’t that how Robin Hood travelled too?
Finally, with most of my partners now on vacation, I was able to lead my first Haiducii session up in Edineţ this past Monday for fellow volunteer Adam's Leadership Summer Camp.  Working with fellow Healthy and Haiduc Melissa – aka Yoga Mama – we made the 4 hour trek up there to meet a great group of future Moldovan leaders who were willing to brave the cold and rainy weather for our outdoor activities.

The Spider Web
It was a great group of kids to work with for my first session, and dare I say, after we made them repeat Spider Web three times, they even seemed to draw some lessons about teamwork.  My favorite moment was when we came to the conclusion as a group that without Alina – a very bright but shy girl – they never would have solved the mental puzzle to what is an otherwise rather physical activity.  They even got the take away – after a little prompting – that sometimes, good leadership means listening, because if you just shout and only the leaders get to say their ideas, the best solution might be drowned out, because sometimes the quietest person has the best ideas.  Now, if only our politicians back in the U.S. could come to that same conclusion…
Melissa debriefs. Alina, work done, yawns.

Then we played Jedi Knife Fight.  Theoretically, there’s a lesson in that game too, but mostly it just involves letting the teams whack each other with foam noodles after a hard day’s work while we try to enforce the games rules.  A casualty of that enforcement tends to be getting whacked yourself.  So, for all those readers who’ve been wanting to wallop me with a noodle but can’t because I’m here in Moldova, poftim (enjoy)!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I love youth leadership, especially in Moldova.